No Soup for You: Winter Time Tips and Tune Ups
Maybe I’m reminiscing back to the days when the soup nazi would belt out “no soup for you”, maybe its because I’ve got a pot of gumbo on the stove, or maybe because its negative 8 degrees out but I can’t wait for this winter to be over with! It’s been bitterly cold and I’ve got a serious case of cabin fever. If fishing isn’t on the immediate agenda, why not get things set up and ready to go for when it is.
Go through you fly boxes. I check all my old and used flies for sharpness, bent hooks, damaged bodies etc. I’ve found it’s just not worth it trying to save a fly these days. I also reorganize my box and rotate the flies according to what will be hatching come spring time. What I have in there now is late fall/early winter stuff. I’m pretty sure there won’t be any October caddis coming off any time soon.
Once I’ve pulled all my flies out, I do a fly box check. Depending on the style you use, they wear, hinges break etc. RiverBum’s self-healing boxes are great and I haven’t replaced mine yet since I’ve started using it.
I like to fish light, as such I don’t like to jamb my vest with a ton of fly boxes. I have plenty of fly boxes, I just don’t take them to the water. I’ll organize them according to time of year, style of fly, hatches…that type of thing. For example, I have a stonefly box. It has both dries and nymphs in it. I have a Mayfly Dry box, that has just mayfly dries in it. Correspondingly, I have a mayfly nymph box…. you get the idea.
All that being said, do you think I’d ever hit a river or a lake and not have a ton of options just in case! Heck no! I have boat bag that I pack up with large holding boxes. I have two young daughters and spend way too much time at Michaels craft store. On one such trip, I saw some 8”x10” plastic box separated out with 2” square compartments. Perfect! This travels with me every trip. If I need to change in up during the middle of a trip, I’ve got the goods. I’ll go through my stocks and start loading up on what I need.
Line is not cheap. Take care of it. I remove any tippet from the line, remove the line from the backing and soak in warm water. I’ll then use a cleaner conditioner for the line and hang them loosely for a few days to reduce any memory.
Rod & Reel:
I do a guide check and I give my rods a good cleaning…. with pledge. Yup, that’s right. Pledge has a bit of wax to it. It will repel water and the dirt and grim that happens when you fish hard. Your line will also move smoothly through the guides. There’s really not much you need to do with your reels these day with the new bearing systems. Just a quick wash and a gentle clean.
I take everything out of my vest and wash it. Maybe it’s the OCD in me, but I don’t want a nasty vest. I do a gadget check. Nippers will dull, I tend to replace those. I do a float ant check and normally order some stock for the year….that I put in my boat bag with all my flies. I also check my tippet and see what I have left on each spool. Me being me, I make sure I have a backup. If not, I’ll get those ordered up too. I give the cheaters a check too and make sure they don’t have too many scratches on them or at least I can functionally see out of them…. sucks to get old!
Waders, Boots, and Wading Stick:
There’s really not too much to say here. If you’ve got a leak, you know it! If you’re boots are beat, you know that too. One thing for sure though, I always, always carry a wading stick. My number one rule of fly fishing is to make it home. Safety first for me. I’m a big dude and can be rough on gear. I want to make sure I haven’t bent the stick. Most are made out of Aluminum and aren’t engineered to hold up a 6’4” 250 lb. guy.
That’s kind of my winter routine. I’ll get a pot of gumbo going on the stove, settle into a nice glass of scotch, head down to the basement and get to work. You never know what the weather is going to be like, so when the time comes, I want to be ready! Until next time my fishy friends….
Tight lines and screaming drags!